SpokenWord Paris this summer

SpokenWord will be on holiday between August 9th & 31st but Open Secret – the open mic at the Bistrot des Artistes – will run forever, every Wednesday.

SpokenWord Paris is one pole of a nomadic tribe of people who love poetry, writing and song. A home for creatives and lost anglophones. We do two open mic nights (SpokenWord every Monday, Open Secret every Wednesday) and a writers’ workshop at Shakespeare & Company (every Sunday.) We do a literary journal called The Bastille and Tightrope Books published many of us in the book “Strangers in Paris.” Click on the blue stamp on the right to sign up to the mailing list.

Open mic/scène ouverte: Performance poetry. Lire vivant. Poésie sonore. Stand up. Monologue. Stories. Beat poetry. Spoken word. English. Français. Your own original texts. Old texts from Rimbaud to Dr Seuss, Beowulf to Gil Scott-Heron. Chacun a son mot à dire. Make the words come alive…………………….. Acoustic songs also welcome.

SpokenWord Sounds
A monthly podcast of SpokenWord Paris, by Victor. Listen or download here.

Every Monday Au Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011. Métro Parmentier/Couronnes. Sign up 8pm to 9.30pm in the bar. Poetics start from 8.30pm underground. Check out the
Practical info page for more info. Paris’ biggest and longest-running English open mic night, started in 2006. All langues welcome. Entry one euro.

Check next week’s theme here

Open Secret 
Every Wednesday David Leo Sirois hosts his open mic for poetry & song at the Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais, 75005, métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or St Michel (line 4.) Sign up 8.30pm. Themes annnounced by the mailing list and on facebook. Free.

The Other Writers’ Group
In 2005 I could only find one anglophone writers’ group in Paris and it was at a time I couldn’t make. So I started this one, the other writers’ group. It’s become an excellent feedback workshop running every Sunday. 6.30pm-8.30pm at Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005. Suggested donation 5 euros. Bring your writing or just come and listen join the discussion. Hosted by me, Bruce Sherfield and other regulars. Description Join us afterwards for a drink. Cheers, David Barnes

Chat Noir sketch drawn by Allison Iwata.

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Au Chat Noir… mardi/Tuesday 6th September

DADA 2016

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Open Secret, 2nite! “The Great Forgetters” @ Le Bistrot des Artistes…


Open Secret! Wednesdays all August long, & beyond, @ Le Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais (a secret passage uniting in holy matrimony Boulevard Saint Germain & rue Lagrange). 5è Paris. 8:30 open mic sign-up rustles “frou-frou” in the branches, & at 9pm it whirls in the wind like red & gold leaves! Métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or Saint-Michel (line 4). Experiments in writing, song, comedy, performance art, theater, & yes, interpretive dance! Strike a pose…

This Wednesday’s theme is “The Great Forgetters,” or Forgetting, for short. Who in the heck are these great forgetters? We all are. Please see the almost-unbearably hilarious & brilliant Mark Strand poem, “Always,” in this invite, from whence the theme came: https://www.facebook.com/events/574911476022037/

See ya @ Le Bistrot this fine summer eve!🙂

-David Leo Lego Oreo Ego Frigo Sirois

(Photo copyright Clément Criseo, http://www.clementcriseo.com/)

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Open Secret, “I’m in hell!” Featuring powerful poet Matt Jones…

Matt Jones

Open Secret! Wednesdays all summer long @ Le Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais, 5è Paris. 8:30 open mic sign-up buds, & at 9pm it blooms crazily as roadside tiger lilies! Métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or Saint-Michel (line 4). Innovations in writing, song, comedy, performance art, theater, & dance, eeeeeven – strut yer proverbial stuff!

Featured poet Matt Jones has lived to write (poignantly, even exquisitely) about his war experiences in Afghanistan…unforgettable work! You are so welcome to come witness this, & share your own creations as well!

Matt’s Bio:
Matt Jones has penned prose and poetry about his experiences in Canada, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, China, and while on a warship. In Ottawa he worked as the artistic director of VERSeFest 2015, and was an editor of In/Words magazine, where he published a chapbook, “White Flowers and Landmines.” In 2014 he won Arc Poetry Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for his poem “Wounded Village.” Published in Arc, Scintilla, and Ottawater, among other places, Matt currently writes in Paris.

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Open Secret, 2nite! “Under Pressure!” with electrifying singer/songwriter Darshana!


Open Secret! Wednesdays all summer @ Le Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais (a teeny-tiny secret passage uniting Boulevard Saint Germain & rue Lagrange – look for the Franprix-in-the-alley) 5è Paris. 8:30 rolling open mic sign-up sparks, 9pm – fireworks! Métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or Saint-Michel (line 4). Your own personal lab for experimental writing, song, comedy, performance art, theater, dance & more! With featured singer/songwriter Darshana…

Darshana, after six years of playing rock music at many venues & festivals in Paris (such as Gala Polytechnique, La Loco, Scène Bastille, & Festival Rock’n’Solex) as the singer and guitarist of the Four Black Taxis, started a new solo career with a completely new energy and repertoire. He is essentially a musician of protest songs in folk music, & has been coached by the music editor of Eddy Mitchell for 4 years. Notable interviews include Fault Mag (http://fault-magazine.com/2011/03/darshana-congreve/ /http://fault-magazine.com/2011/07/darshana/) & the world-renowned INSTITUTE Mag (https://institutemag.com/2012/05/29/darshana-congreve-2/). A new CD – ONE (7 Songs) is coming in October 2016, with the engineer & musicians of Louis Lumière. (Darshana’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT_g4xQkgtxPMbMQJmm34og).

See you at Le Bistrot des Artistes 2nite, friends!

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Open Secret, 2nite! “I’m in trubble now!” With singer/poets James Berg & Didier Cornevin!

James Berg

Open Secret! Wednesdays @ Le Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais, 75005 Paris. 8:30 open mic sign-up, 9pm show. Métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or Saint-Michel (line 4). Experiments in writing, song, comedy, performance art, theater, & dance, eeeeeven – whatever you got cookin’!

We have a double feature this Wednesday: James Berg has been charming & moving & grooving audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for years (hear his SoundCloud here: http://www.soundcloud.com/jamesfromtheusa). . .but we will also have the great good fortune to witness Didier Cornevin’s reinvention of radical (not just for its time) French verse into vibrant song: the works of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine…as well as his strong original songs & dramatic recitations. Wowie Kazowie! J

James’ bio:

Dividing his time between the United States and France, James Berg performs as a poet, storyteller and musician. Often collaborative, his songwriting has been performed and recorded by American folk/rock musicians and was included on Old Shoe’s CD, Family, named by WXRT as best Chicago album of 2013. James’s poetry was most recently published last month in While You Were Waiting by Poems While You Wait in Chicago. His past and upcoming poetry, essays and short fiction are available in Paris at Shakespeare & Company bookshop through Spoken Word Paris and Paris Lit Up publications. Visit jamesfromtheusa.com for more info.

See ya @ the Bistrot!

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Open Secret, 2nite! “Poetry is that which is lost in translation?” With poet/translator Matt Rosen, & singer/songwriter Cat Rickman…

Open Secret exists at Le Bistrot des Artistes – 6 rue des Anglais, 75005 Paris. A petite passage between Boulevard Saint Germain & rue Lagrange…From Saint Germain, look for the Franprix-in-the-alley! Métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or Saint-Michel (line 4). 8:30 sign-up, 9 of the clock rock!
“Poetry is that which is lost in translation?” is our theme-question. Featuring formidable poet/translator Matt Rosen . Also appearing,  the unforgettable singer Cat Rickman. She rocks!

MATT ROSEN is a photographer, writer & translator from London, who studies presently in Paris, and specializes in surrealist poetry. His photos have been published in several magazines, including Stirring: a Literary Collection, and Driftwood Press. He makes every effort to translate works of the surrealist group which have never before appeared in English (like his translations of Breton & Reverdy, in the current issue of Terre à Ciel:http://www.terreaciel.net/). His first play, The Sower Works for Mastery by Turning the Wheel, was featured in the conceptual theatre festival Fourplay.

CAT RICKMAN is a New York-based singer-songwriter, authoress, and poet. Her influences include the jazz greats, various hipster indie queens, and angsty British rock bands. Think, what would happen if Ella sang for the Arctic Monkeys.

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Angel Nafis, Morgan Parker and Danez Smith to guest at SpokenWord Paris July 25th ! Monday’s Theme—Ghosts/Haunting

The Other Black Girl Collective is a Brooklyn-based black feminist poetry duo comprised of nationally acclaimed award winning authors Angel Nafis and Morgan Parker. Despite popular belief, we are not actually the same person. We aim to celebrate black female expression and sisterhood, honor and highlight the multiplicity of the black female experience, and push against tropes and stereotypes that smother and limit us. Our work, featured in Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, The BreakBeat Poets Anthology, Best American Poetry 2016 and Buzzfeed, is deeply personal and individual, explores 21st century black American womanhood and its complexities: performance, depression, isolation, exoticism, racism, pop culture, femininity, family and politics. With energy, brutal honesty, dark humor, anger and pride, we aim to create a new Black Girl mythology. This is our first international tour of our two woman show If You Are Over Staying Woke.
Danez Smith is the author of [insert] boy (2014, YesYes Books), winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Their 2nd collection, Don’t Call Us Dead, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2017. They are also the author of two chapbooks, hands on ya knees  & black movie, winner of the Button Poetry Prize. Their work has published & featured widely including in Poetry Magazine, Beloit Poetry Journal, Buzzfeed, Blavity, & Ploughshares. They are a 2014 Ruth Lilly – Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow, a Cave Canem and VONA alum, and a recipient of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship. Danez is a 2-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, placing 2nd in 2014. They edit for The Offing & is a founding member of 2 collectives, Dark Noise and Sad Boy Supper Club. Danez lives in the midwest most of the time.

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Open Secret, 2nite! Rykarda Parasol’s “rock noir,” intimate & unplugged!


Open Secret seems to exist (oh-so-happily!) at Le Bistrot des Artistes – 6 rue des Anglais, 75005 Paris. A petite passage joining in holy matrimony Boulevard Saint Germain & rue Lagrange…From Saint Germain, look for the Franprix-in-the-alley! Métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or Saint-Michel (line 4). 8:30 sign-up, 9 of the clock rock!

Come walk on the wild side! The theme tonight is the name of my new fave song, Rykarda’s “The Cloak of Comedy.” Rich possibilities there, non? Please give this a listen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoF62M762_U…C U there!

Rykarda’s bio:
Rykarda Parasol is a composer, lyricist, vocalist, musician, and performer. Originally from San Francisco, she now splits her time between there and Paris, France. Like any ancient explorer, she has stories and musings to convey. With a precarious, gender-bending vocal she weaves tales of identity, experience, loss, and adventure with elegance and discernment. She describes her sound as “Rock noir” which combines elements of folk. Americana, psychedelic 60s, and even Motown. Parasol has just released her fourth album, The Color of Destruction, on various European labels including Warner Music (Poland) and Interbang (Germany).
• Web Site: http://rykardaparasol.com/

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Elan Mehler to guest at SpokenWord Paris July 18th ! Monday’s Theme—Sacrilegious/Sinful/Irreverent

Elan Mehler was born in Boston, studied jazz and classical music at New York University, and resided in NYC playing music with various ensembles for ten years.
Called “disorienting and fascinating” by MOJO magazine and a “…refreshingly slow answer to our trashy nanosecond pop culture” by Time Out London, Elan Mehler, the pianist and star discovery of Radio 1 veteran Gilles Peterson has released three albums on Brownswood Recordings, and now two records with Challenge Records.  2007’s “Scheme For Thought” called a “…work of mellow magnificence” by Time Out and garnered a four star review from MOJO Magazine, was selected as a top ten record of 2007 by the Stephen Graham.  2009’s “The After Suite,” “a masterpiece with a capital ‘M,”  –All About Jazz, was hailed as “…positively rhapsodic” by Time Out.  2010’s collaboration with the Oklahoman singer-songwriter Adam McBride-Smith, Half Seas Over, built  “…a productive relationship between two genres of music that few jazz artists other than Bill Frisell have managed to splice…” Elan signed with the Dutch record label, Challenge Records in 2013 and has released a trio record and solo piano record to critical acclaim.  Elan has performed his music worldwide at major festivals, venues and radio stations.
From 2010-2015 Elan lived in Paris where he started writing dirty, disturbing songs.  He now sings these songs often with his band as TJ and the Revenge to packed crowds in very, very small venues.

Mehler’s touch is as nuanced as Bill Evans’s, and his phrasing draws on both jazz and classical music without directly importing licks from either.  The subdued certainties of his playing bring a crowded room to total silence.”
–John Fordham, The Guardian
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Open Secret, 2nite! Guest poet Chris Bernstorf, featured singer Jan Dark!


Open Secret! Wednesdays @ Le Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais, 75005 Paris. 8:30 signup, 9pm show. Métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or Saint-Michel (line 4).

This week’s special guest poet: Chris Bernstorf (http://www.chrisbernstorf.com/), plus ingenious German electro-pop singer/songwriter Jan Dark (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs9_Lp1S5m1iK-HoYadmLfw). Theme: “I’ll never grow up!”

Chris Bernstorf’s bio:
Performing since 2010 and touring since he finished college in the spring of 2012, ChrisBernstorf has carved a singular trail. Having performed around 400 shows in 38 states and Canada, he finds himself equally at home in the middle of a metal show or a living room and has developed a reputation for breaking down the barriers between himself and his audience, inviting everyone in the room into an experience, one he hopes is wrought with honesty, passion, and love.

Jan Dark’s bio:
“Ever since my childhood days in Germany, I’ve always thought of reality as something tedious to avoid at all costs. What helped me through the day was a coccoon made of all kinds of music. Throughout this journey, I’ve always kept writing my own songs. One EP (R.A.W.), one album (Charting Darker Waters), and lots of concerts ensued, and after several years of joyful noise, I felt like cooling things down for a change. The resulting EP “Healer” is equally sober and dreamy: minimalist, hypnotic pop music, with the occasional psychedelic flourish.”

See ya @ da Bistrot 2nite, for poetry, hilarity & hot music!🙂


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